Mobile users bash govt’s plan to tax text messages anew

Oct. 03, 2014

TAGUM CITY—Mobile phone users on Friday were quick to bash government for pushing anew a plan to impose tax on text messages, saying the proposal is anti-poor and plainly absurd.

“That’s plain stupidity. What the hell are they thinking? I don’t see any necessity to tax text messages. If they will pursue it many poor Filipinos will be affected,” said college student Francis Lorenzo, 16.

“Rich people won’t be affected with this but its the poor people who strives hard just to earn money for valuing communication more than the staple food,” said Lorenzo.

“We all know that communication is essential nowadays. A P1.00 per message would mean a life or death to a poor individual or to anyone. Given the difficult economic conditions now, it’s only cheap that I don’t see any logical reason why the government would do that.”

Finance Undersecretary Jeremias Paul on Wednesday said the government is planning again to impose tax on text messages as an alternative measure because government’s revenue has reduced.

Another mobile phone user, Christian Andis, 18, said government “must tax those companies selling junk foods, those who sell products that posed a threat to health and environment or perhaps foreign owned companies. To tax text messaging is impractical and illogical,” Andis said.

On Friday, Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), in a statement said, “it is pointless taxing people further when the government can’t even fix the present system of tax collection.”

It can be recalled that a bill to levy a tax to text messages was filed as early as 2009 but was vehemently opposed by mobile users, consumer groups and telecommunication companies.

“With the excise tax, road user’s tax, and various other taxes Filipinos are obliged to pay, it is only right to demand government transparency on tax collection, especially in the light of the pork barrel controversies, which have caused many citizens to lose faith in the administration,” Secillano said. —MART D. SAMBALUD/

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